- Chzustch is first of all not a band. At least, it did not start as a band. What the future brings will show. The project was started as a spin off on some of my other art projects. The idea was to create a band without members. (Instead of Chzustch, we should have coined the name Sessionary (haha)..So to take to the birth of this project/band I have to tell you a little story. I was just finishing an other art project, a digital art installation, with flashing pictures of people in front of fountains, with this censor bar over their eyes. Happy, sad, angry, a lot of emotions where going on around the world, and in front of fountains. I have used forums, Fiverr, Splice, and a lot of these services to buy authentic materials form both everyday users, to highly professionals artist. I put these together and made an installation. It was a great success, for me, not as great success for my wallet.. haha.
So, That project aside, I was planning a new. This time, go full audio. I used my network again, but wanted also to participate myself. So I recorded some plain guitar riffs, and started buying bass lines, drums, vocals, synths etc. When you do it this way, the only name I know on most of the participants, on «They believed us and perished for it», is their online username. Everybody was told that this was an art project, and I could not tell under which name nor banner this release would be under, and that I own the rights to all material. (Until the end of the project)
After putting things together, which by the way was a hell of a job, since I did´not pay attention enough to hear that things was in tune, tempo and such, I sent this off to mixing, and It came together as good as it gets. Due to the mailing and online forums, I got to know a few of the folks that participated, but we kept our true identity hidden, in respect of the project. So to the new release I have managed to keep some of lineup intact.
2.So far you have released a demo and a single, musically how do they differ from each other?
The Demo/EP is a result of the first batch of files. The mailing extravaganza and file sharing. Hours of recorded material put together as a jigsaw. The new single, «Where the deceased one lived», which was released on bandcamp, is done in a much easier way, and had a better workflow. I think the song turned out quite well. The file sharing was better, with longer takes, and mapping with right tempo and tune. I had to arrange the guitar tracks for the whole song first, before sending it out to put it together. And we have tried some online features to try live recording as well. The rest of the new release we have some cool plans. I have managed to have two of the guys who participated on TBIUAPFI to help out writing and arrange songs, and not the mashup like last time.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored so far with the music?
As a part of the «mysterious» thing around Chzustch (not in a lame Ghost-way, where we hide behind mask) but the reality, that we don´t really know who each other are, the lyrics is also outsourced. We´re like the Reservoir Dogs of Rock´n Roll. I´m Mr Pink. Haha. I have no clue, what the lyrics are, beside what you hear. But the unidentified thing with the clean vocal that's going on, which I think is great, makes it a bit hard to really hear. It´s what I truly fell for, and gave me a lot of boost to carry on. When I got the vocals the first time, and I could not fucking understand what the hell he was singing. Haha. After son time, I have learned a way to crack the code (as you do with distorted vocals and growling and shit) and I have a decent overview of whats going on. As for the lyrics part, I said that that also was outsourced, and that turned out to be a little nut. I had to get the lyrics from the writer, and have him to send this to the other guys with the vocals, but to keep them anonymous from each other, I had to receive help form a third guy to be the middle man. (necessary idiot) We called him the Broker. So to keep everybody separated, include me, to the things I did not wanted to see, or hear we used the Broker. He was a goldmine to the project. And is still with us. We should honour him (or She) a song.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Chzustch'?
In the process of doing this band, I have involved over a dozen people. The Broker, as mention before, was asked to retrieve a logo for the band. I mailed him and said: We need a logo. Fell free to use whatever name you want, but I want the letters to look a bit similar. Make it evil..» The Broker sent me three (or four) suggestions. First was a lame logo, old english font, and the name Suffocation. (HAHA) the next was some Disney-shit and I think it was Sore Swallow or something. I had to stop him. I Mailed him, and said, just take some crazy word, or make something up, or ask your granddad for a word they used when their was kids. To try to be evil, make it look evil. So he sent me Chzustch. It´s a killer logo. I did not ask what it mean, but I must say I have tried to google it, but it sends me to some technical IT-shit, and I don´t know, maybe The Broker made it all up. I have tried to come up with some way to pronounce the word, but it all fall back on «SHUSHT»
5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the demo cover?
As an artist myself, I wanted off course to make the artwork, but again, The Broker played a big role. He managed to talk me out of it, and wanted to give it a go. He contacted Wiz, a dude at Cult Tape Productions, And from there the artwork was done. So I guess I have to credit The Broker this. (maybe I own him money?)
6.Most of the band members are also involved with any other bands, what is it that you bring into the music of 'Chzustch' that you are not able to do with your other groups?
Everything! Haha. I have played all kind of music in the last 25-30 years. I have played in several bands, and some soloprojects as well. When you are in a band, the writing often is similar when you do all things yourself. You make demos, and you do your things to it to make it work. In a band, you take your sketch to a rehearshal and the song is arranged with the band. Some parts in, some left out. With Chzustch, I wanted to loose all control. Just send som riffs to somebody, and take it from there. As the finishing EP was a bit Experimental Black Metal, is maybe a accident. Haha. It could have been shoegaze, or some oldschool doom also, but when I started to put things togheter it came to me that I was aiming for an extreme, but melodic soundscape.
7.Most of the band members also like to keep their identities unknown and some also have not meet each other. does this have a huge impact on the musical style that you play?
You bet, but the anonymous part is not that big ordeal, but it adds another dimension to it in the way of making music. The style was always secondary, I had to make things fit. The clean vocal, who really gave me the boost to carry on, should have taken us to a more doom-genre, but when I balanced it with the screaming vocal (that I think is a girl) It was clearly that we are over in the more experimental avantgarde black metal bla bla shit. It´s not important what it is, but what it really is, that matter. So put it in a genre pipe and smoke it for all I care. As long as you love it, hate it, or think its ok. (Hedberg)
8.You also refuse to release your music on digital format, do you feel black metal is better suited for physical format?
Yes. Black metal should always be released and listen on tapes or vinyl. I refused to release Chzustch on a digital platform such as Spotify and iTunes and such, but, since this is a living, and almost an organic project, I give all music away to labels. I prefers small DIY-labels, that can make from 30-150 ex tapes, maybe vinyl, CD, even CD-r... The format it not a big deal for me. I have my own copy, and I would not probably listen to it for at least a couple of years. When I´m done, I´m done. So is the deal, and the only demand and guidelines I gave The Broker, was, any label can do whaterver they want with the release, We (or I) don´t want anything in return. Release it as you wish, but not digital. I have agreed on bandcamp (you win some, you loose some,..)
Cult Tape Productions, made a DIY cassette, with an awesome foldout cover, almost like a 7´´ and a DIY CD-r release with hand made screen printed covers. In different colour. Strictly limited. I was told the black version only had two ex. Haha.
9.The demo was also released on 'Cult Tapes', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
The Broker sent out som emails, and came back to me with Cult Tape. I said, I would have nothing to do with it, since I have done my part of the work, so he could do whaterever he wanted, So everything that happened after I sendt The Broker the final files, is in his hands. He also is responsible for the emailaccount, and answering all mails. Some shit he sends to me, like your questions, and some he fix himself. I guess The Broker is the band boss now. Cult Tape cut a deal with a small distro, Unborn Productions, and you can order the tapes and CDr thorugh them.
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
Very good actually. The Broker has received a lot of cool mails from around the globe, but has also been threatened.. a dude from Italy said that if he ever found out who we really are, he would make soup and drink it from our knee sockets. He hated this band some much. It was the worst thing he have ever heard, and was quite angry. The Broker is a cold fuck so he answered him, and after a few mails back and fourth he offered the italian to send him a check on ten dollars, to say I´m Sorry. The italin was pleased, and sent the Broker his address. The Broker sent him a new ex of the EP.. (haha) So, Italy is off limits now.
11.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Full length. Oh my goat. That is too much work, (and money) to give away. Since Chzusch is more of an art project, that finish up when I send The Broker the mixdown. I do this on my spare time, and with cash raised from my other bands and projects, but never say never. The new material is written, and I´m awaiting some vocals, I had to replace the distorted vocal on the new release, since the girl who was screaming her lungs out on the first EP, has deleted her account, and I can´t find her. Too bad, but hey, a new obstacle I did not think of, and i had to overcome. So a new vocalist is on board. And you can hear it on the single «Where the deceased once lived» on bandcamp. I have received enough clean vocals for two songs now, and it looks like we´re more over in a doom-genre, but I hope to balance it with the distorted vocals to get back on the evil track.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I listen to all kinds of music. When I wrote riffs to the EP, I was in a Pentagram/Witchfinder General-mood, and when I went to sleep I had to have Leviathan – Howl Mockery at the Cross on my ears to really relax. I listen to music every minutes of the day, and now, when writing back tou you, I´m listening to Devil Master – Satan Spits on Children of Light. A really cool album!
Other influences is everything. If you look at my playlist since breakfast I have been through this: Moody Blues, Blut Aus Nord, Slaid Cleaves, Abba, Spectral Lore, Hedenvandret, Nick Lowe, River Mathews, Xasthur, Ulver and Anthrax. I really dig tapes, and have just got a hold of a vintage double deck. So I can overlap. I still make mix tapes on cassettes and use my Walkman when I´m working at my workshop, or are out in the woods making campfire and fishing.
12.Beforewe wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
After a few years of hiathus online and missing the underground scene, I am really glad to se the scene still has a lot to offer. Back in the days, when we started to upload our demos online, at Myspace. And chating on msn, we thought this was the shit. And we where finsihed with tapetrading, and went all-in on the web. And then Facebook and shit came along and killed myspace, and the underground forums (I attended)
Soundcloud and Bandcamp came along. And I just.. fuck.. Bah.. I´m to old for this. I have a band, record deals, and we do our thing.. But somewhere inside me, I was longing back to the times of Myspace, and the tape trading. So I logged into our bands bandcamp account and started browsing. A week later I made my own, and started buying and trading. I spend most of my online-time on bandcamp. Looking for new artist. Listen to demos and such. I have a playing love for the «one man black metal bands», and the demo-format. I´m not a collector, but I really take time to give these guys a fair chance. I rather listen to an indonesian guy making evil shit with his Casio and drum machine, on a four track, than go on a Sabbaton concert. I guess my favorite format is a honest demo, released on a reused cassette, with taped holes. That is effort and a will to make music. And that´s what´s important. When you are in a big band, or due to release your fourth or fifth record, it´s not the same thing as when you wrote music for you debut, or demo for that matter. The drive, the will and the idealism that is put into these self-release music, is what I have tremendous respect for. Thank you! Keep up the good work on your webzine!